I must say that a DTR is a new concept in my vocab. Excuse my delayed reaction because I hear it is quite an old phenomenon. So, a DTR is a conversation people have to Define The Relationship. Usually, this kind of conversation is held by a couple who feel they need to have clarity on what they are doing. Perhaps they have gone on one or a couple of dates, or they have been ‘dating’ for years but are not sure where their interaction is going. If you feel that way in your relationship, perhaps it is time to have a DTR. Suppose you took your phone right now and scrolled through the contact list, would you be able to DTR on each name you come across? The difficulty and danger of relationships that aren’t defined is that boundaries are usually blurred, the rules of engagement are not clear and unmet expectations can be quite disappointing.
I have heard that some relationships fail before they even start due to how we act as women. The guys I have spoken to have told me that sometimes all they want is to go out for coffee to try get to know a girl better, but before they know it, that girl has put them up as a profile picture and calling him a boyfriend. Guys run from that sort of thing I gathered. For us women on the other hand, if you ask me out, or you chat to me on the phone, the natural inclination I gather is that you are interested in me and then my mind WILL go into overdrive. It takes a lot of will to put those aside and try be as ‘going with the flow’ as men expect us to be and I think if guys can understand a little bit of that, and us understand that sometimes coffee, means just coffee, then we can make some inroads into getting to know how we each process.
Having said all that, where matters of the heart are concerned, I personally value clarity. Perhaps you are a DTR right away kind of girl (meet him today and tomorrow ask what you guys are doing), or, you may be a go with the flow DTR later kind of girl who is happy to delay “The Talk,” but at one point or another, a DTR is inevitable. In my own experience, I have found that when I do not know what we are doing, I find it difficult to manage my expectations. I have an overt kind of personality where I wear my heart on my sleeve and so having a guy who is around my space but cannot place in a category is a struggle for me, and for a couple of ladies I have spoken to on the matter. So the guys in my circle, both Christian and non-Christian were happy enough to share some of the reasons they approach girls;
- Texting buddy – given the way guys are texting more than calling nowadays, this is really becoming a pandemic. But these kinds of relationships usually don’t go beyond texting. The people seldom meet but texts can escalate from casual to more explicit texting defined as sexting. For those who may not know, sexting is a form of texting where the messages are suggestively sexual in nature. I could go into details, but I think you get the drift. Facebook is one platform where these kinds of relationships are rife.
- A friend – I will admit that this was only mentioned by a handful of guys. Most said it was very rare that a guy would approach a girl for the pure reason of having a platonic relationship with her. Some said they would befriend a girl for the purpose of getting to the girl’s friend. But yeah, a guy could be looking for just a good old friend.
- A friend with benefits – This is a friend from whom the guy will expect some benefits especially sexual favours. These people are not dating or in a committed relationship. In fact, in some cases, they may be having other partners but they meet up for the sake of sex.
- Potential life partner – This guy is looking for a committed relationship. So he is dating with the sole purpose of developing a friendship that could potentially turn into something serious, possibly marriage.
I am sure there are probably many other reasons guys approach girls, but the above are those I chose to focus on. So then, at which point in your interaction do you have the talk? Guys tell me that in relationships, especially the beginning stages, they are finding room to breathe and enjoying the moment whereas girls are thinking, is he the one, what kind of a father will he be? Whilst a guy is on today, the girl is a couple months/years down the line.
In trying to find harmony on the matter, there are differing opinions. Some say after 2/3 dates, some say after a year and some even say before agreeing to go on the first date. I just feel that as soon as one part of the pair starts to have some level of emotional connection or attachment, the DTR is necessary to ward off misunderstandings. In fact, as soon as one party feels they do not know what the relationship is, I think they should consider speaking out. I would prefer for a guy to initiate a DTR, but as a girl, if you feel like your interaction with a particular guy is starting to confuse you, by all means ask.
The Bible calls for us to guard our hearts with all diligence for out of it flows the issues of life. That certainly includes not allowing confusion to rule. Confusion if not of God and if a guy cannot be honest with you about what his intention are, rather walk away than find yourself immersed deeply in love with no cushion to hold you up when you discover that the guy wasn’t actually interested in anything other than a physical connection, or just “hanging out.” Having a DTR provides one with clarity and gives one the power to make the decision of whether what the one party wants, is what the other is also looking for.
To the guys – know that your actions speak volumes to us, so please be clear.
To the girls – know that not all guys asking you out are asking to marry you, take it easy. So be careful about what you allow. There is no need then to kiss, touch or flirt on the first date. Be careful what you are also communicating.
Above it all, may the Lord be your guide as you brave the tough dating waters of the 21st century. It sure isn’t easy.
If you have had a DTR lately, I would love to hear about it.